Kenya news

African Media urged to leverage on digital technologies – Kenya News Agency

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The media in Africa has been called upon to adopt digital technologies, which will enable them to reach an ever-changing audience with real-time news, which is increasingly becoming a key to survival.

Media Council of Kenya (MCK) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) David Omwoyo said that digital opportunities and technologies have gone further to allow the audiences that were out of reach in the past days to be able to access news and information through their phones, and media houses should follow the audiences where they are going.

African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina speaking during the all African Media Leaders Summit on Thursday May 9, 2024 held at Radisson Hotel, Nairobi. Photo by Sharon Atieno

Speaking in Nairobi on Thursday during the All Africa Media Leaders Summit, Omwoyo said that the forum’s aim is to discuss the media business, its progress, and its role in shaping Africa’s future.

“This forum is not only a reflection of the centrality of the Kenyan and African media landscape and its role in development; it is also an appreciation that with great energy and collaboration, we can chart a brighter future for the African media,” said Omwoyo.

The CEO said that the summit has come at a time when digital media is taking off in Africa, and it offers media experts on the continent an opportunity to discuss ways to transform traditional media into digital media, which is increasingly becoming a necessity for survival.

“The digital transition has not only created more opportunities for media and content creators but has also allowed us to go through a transition where, first of all, more content is created and second, information and content are reaching more audiences,” said Omwoyo.

He reiterated that during the old days, news was being translated into African languages, but now the technology has allowed the newspaper to be read in one language, and the technology, through Artificial Intelligence (AI), knows the language of consumption of the different consumers.

He urged media leaders not to fight technology but rather cooperate for better results instead of the scoop mentality, where sometimes the media compete too much.

“Technology has shown that collaboration will bring better results, cut down on operation costs, and also increase incomes,” he said.

The African Development Bank President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, noted that the gathering is taking place at a time of great challenge for African countries that have been devastated by storms and floods, with many lives being lost as a result.

Additionally, he addressed the summit on the role of media in Africa, themed ‘Reengineering African Media in Times of Critical Transformation.’

“An independent, professional, and responsible media is critical for the freedom of speech, the development of democracy, and the strengthening of an inclusive society,” he stated.

Adesina said that it has been a rough ride for media and enterprise across Africa since the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said, “We are living in dynamic times where technology continues to evolve rapidly with increased digitalization, internet, and social media usage, shifting audiences to social media outlets, making radio, television, and print publications look like distant memories, especially for the young generation.”

Adesina noted that two-thirds of the global population is turning to the internet, social media, and pre-play to access real-time news, information, and entertainment.

He said that the dynamic shift is largely fueled by the widespread use of mobile phones, adding that by the year 2030, 6 billion people globally will have access to smartphones, and 692 million of these people will be in Africa.

“These transformative changes have led to the creation and distribution of diverse news and content, including AI-generated content and deep fake news. The line between facts and fiction can become blurred,” said Adesina.

By Sharon Atieno

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